We are saddened to share the news of the passing of Bill Pitt, a great Australian driver and a successful racer in the ’50s and ’60s. Bill passed away on February 23 at the age of 90.
Les Hughes of the Jaguar Magazine put together a lovely piece remembering Bill and has kindly allowed us to reprint it here. Please read on.
By, and thanks to, Les Hughes – Jaguar Magazine
Vale: Bill Pitt
It’s with a very heavy heart that we pass on the news that one of Jaguar’s greatest racers and devotees, Bill Pitt, died on February 23 at the grand age of 90 years.
Bill was co-winner of the first 24 Hours race held in Australia (1954) driving one of the first XK120 FHCs built, defeating Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze in an ex-works C-Type.
He co-purchased new D-Type XKD526, raced it with great success, and even flipped it onto its back at Albert Park in its second outing. He was incredibly fortunate to survive that – and without any injury.
In 1957 he co-drive the Queensland Jaguar distributor’s MkVIII auto saloon in the Mobilgas Around Australia Trial – coming home the first non-VW car and in 7th placing outright. They also claimed a host of other awards for what he said was his finest competition event.
In 1959 he co-owned and drove one of the potent and rare works prepared 3.4 Litre (Mk1) cars to finish second in the first Australian Touring Car Championship in 1960 (behind another works ‘Mk1’).
In 1961 he captured the second Australian Touring Car Championship in the ‘Mk1’ beating Bob Jane and a host of other Jaguar entrants.
Bill was the Service Manager for Westco Motors, the Queensland and Northern Territory Jaguar distributors, and carried out a host of other vital roles in the business before going into his own non-motoring enterprise.
Last year we were delighted to take Bill, the Patron of the Jaguar Drivers Club of Queensland, to meet David Bowden who showed him around his incredible collection of historic racing cars.
That includes the first works-built ‘Mk1’ in Australia, the ex-David McKay ‘Grey Pussy’ – when Bill sat in a ‘Mk1’ racing Jaguar for the final time.
He lost his delightful wife Cherry some years ago, but was strongly supported by his daughter and two sons to whom we pass on our deepest sympathies on their loss of a talented but too modest man who loved Jaguars to his core.
RIP, Bill Pitt. It was an honour to know you.